Charles Springer

Inauguration Day

Wife calls me from her cell, says all the way to work whitetails lined the roadway, four and five deep in places, says they looked like passengers behind the line to board a train. I remind her that today’s the day the governor comes to town with his entourage and motorcade. I ask her if she saw the rabbits. Come to think of it, she says, it did look like the doe were wearing fuzzy slippers. And were there birds perched atop bucks’ antlers? Hundreds, maybe thousands, in the voice she gathers for amazement. She asks if they’ve all left their nests to greet the governor as he passes. I tell her each and every creature have been summoned for extinction. Did you not see the front end loaders, dump trucks in the background? Silly me, she says, you’re right, always with a new administration.

 

Acknowledgments

First Friday, and I am only visually deconstructing a mixed medium while sipping a snappy little chardonnay and blowing foam through my minced bologna when I trip over my own two feet and slice a piece of thigh on the slivers, squirt blood floor to ceiling on a new white wall and spectators gather while I text for an Uber to Urgent Care to get stitched up, then return to where everyone surrounds me like iron filings on a north magnetic pole, not out of concern for my accident but in awe of it although Pollock would deny the accident and I am gracious and even a bit proud yet properly acknowledge the on-call physician’s assistant, the glassblower, the grape stomper, the casing stuffer skyping from a range of locations and of course, my parents in assisted living for their feet in this.

 

Charles Springer

Charles Springer has degrees in anthropology and is an award-winning painter. A Pushcart Prize nominee, he is published in over seventy journals including The Cincinnati Review, Faultline, Windsor Review, Packingtown Review and Tar River Poetry, among others. His first collection of poems entitled Juice is forthcoming from Regal House Publishing. He writes from Pennsylvania.

Greed

my clock of you seems to have stopped

I imagine you‘ve moved the furniture.  erased the place.

I’ve been reading rilke about loss.  he speaks of meeting the pain.

finding a place for it.  inside.

what does it mean that words take so long to generate?

 

nothing and nothing and

 

then up from the belly through the chest out the throat

on to the page.

mouth wet to the page.

maybe it’s me.  moving the furniture.

 

Ditta Baron Hoeber

Ditta Baron Hoeber is an artist and a poet. Her recent poetry publications have been in Windowcat, Contemporary American Voices, the American Journal of Poetry, the American Poetry Review, Construction Magazine, New American Writing and Per Contra along with a suite of her photographs. In 2018 she received a nomination for the Pushcart Prize. Her photographs, drawings and book works have been exhibited nationally and have been acquired by several artist book and photography collections, including those at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the University of Pennsylvania, MOMA’s Franklin Furnace Artist Book Collection, Oberlin College and Chelsea College of Art and Design in London.

 

 

 

 

A Sound of Wings

We pretend having our life,

even world’s life, always under control,

from past generations to present days.

Sometimes we feel close to that certainty,

and it is good that this should happen,

giving us some encouragement on the route.

We work with the mind and the heart,

science and desire, on outlining the future,

which we anticipate promising and happy.

Skirting around life’s corners, every so often,

we are faced with frightening facts,

perhaps echoes of ancient Greek tragedies,

poor of hope in the human renaissance.

Wars, revolutions, tyrannies and persecutions,

born on the drumming of soulless men,

have delayed landing in the promised land,

where milk and honey spur and light reigns,

preventing all evil once sown.

But we are already listening

the beating of the wings of the dove’s return,

like those of Noah, bringing in its beak

the green branch of the olive tree.

 

Edilson Afonso Ferreira

Edilson Afonso Ferreira, 75 years, is a Brazilian poet who writes in English rather than in Portuguese. Largely published in international journals in print and online, he began writing at age 67, after retirement as a bank employee. Nominated for The Pushcart Prize 2017, his first Poetry Collection, Lonely Sailor, One Hundred Poems, was launched in London, November 2018. He is always updating his works at www.edilsonmeloferreira.com.

The Names Have Been Changed to Protect the Idiots

this quaint little town

is seedy as fuck

behind the Jackson Park ball fields

where the women pill up

and drink Marshmallow Cokes

at the Saturday Afternoon

Little League Games

and the men get drunk

and smoke dirt weed in the dug out

at the softball games

on Saturday Night

and across the parking lots

of second tier chain restaurants

Oliveoutbacklobsterbee’s

where teenage hopefuls

dip dreams into bowls of alfredo

and those who’ve lost hope

dote on their husbands

who still wonder how a fuck

led to a family

so Jack Tanner

a prominent lawyer

uses his wife

to lure other women

married or not

to impress them

by getting them drunk

and hanging things off of his penis

and the judge Davey Richards

just takes drunk girls

from bar to car

and then swerves himself home

because who really cares

it’s a joke among

The Good Ole Boys

who sit laughing at round tables

of gin games and vodka drinks

in the stag lounge of

the country club

where women

are still not welcome

they make deals over pretzels

afraid of being anything else

and the two empty chairs

are from Walter and Frank

who need to be home with their kids

but wanted to stop by the Cozy

where the north end comes alive

and smells like ash trays and onion rings

and Bobby stabbed his cousin again

so no one can use the pool table

whatever you would use it for

as its two-dollar pints of PBR

and a buck for a shot of well whisky

until Phil gets back from an errand

with Bobby’s cousin’s wife

in the apartment next door

owned by the county treasurer

who watches behind a two way mirror

with his dick in his hand

as the bars close down

and Sunday brings the baptism of dawn

and church parking lots fill

with the faithful, the hungover, and the guilty

and baskets get passed

through toll-booth pews

of naively obedient servants

facing Pastor Best

who has lead them in prayer

and warned of the dangers

of Muslims and Homosexuals

but will get caught tonight

by his wife

writing letters to his old friend in Leeds

about the time they stuck it in each other’s ass

and called it male bonding

in the eyes of the Lord

 

 

Chad Kebrdle

Chad Kebrdle is an English Professor at Ancilla College and an MFA student at The Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University. He finds both frustration and pleasure from residing in the cornfields of Indiana, where he draws inspiration for his work.

At Yad Vashem

I will call him Asher

a single light

in a mirror

reflecting a candle

in a cave of darkness

and among one-point-five-million

tiny mirrored lights

 

I will say he came from Austria

a single light

in a mirror

reflecting a candle

in the depths of darkness

and among one-point-five-million

tiny mirrored lights

 

I will say he was thirteen

a single light

in a mirror

reflecting a candle

in wells of darkness

and among one-point-five-million

tiny mirrored lights

 

I will say his bar mitzvah

was fresh in his young heart

a single light

in a mirror

reflecting a candle

in chambers of darkness

and among one-point-five-million

tiny mirrored lights

 

I will say he was but a boy

of flesh and blood and bones

a single light

in a mirror

reflecting a candle

in darkness’s abyss

and among one-point-five-million

tiny mirrored lights

 

I will say he, Asher Zaffrin, is remembered,

my one among one-point-five-million

tiny mirrored lights against the darkness

 

Karla Linn Merrifield

Karla Linn Merrifield, a nine-time Pushcart-Prize nominee and National Park Artist-in-Residence, has had 700+ poems appear in dozens of journals and anthologies. She has 14 books to her credit. Following her 2018 Psyche’s Scroll (Poetry Box Select) is the newly released full-length book Athabaskan Fractal: Poems of the Far North from Cirque Press. Her Godwit: Poems of Canada (FootHills Publishing) received the Eiseman Award for Poetry. She is a frequent contributor to The Songs of Eretz Poetry Review, and assistant editor and poetry book reviewer emerita for The Centrifugal Eye.

Transfiguration*

Mrs., your daughter fits Fifty-Fourth and Vine

Father, your address is Fifty-Sixth and so is mine

Mrs., more than eight blocks four times a day—

Father, here, at lunch time she can stay—

Mrs., we encourage no such program.

Father, she can take the bus to and from.

Mrs., for you Vine Street is truly close.

Father, Market is busy and dangerous to cross.

Mrs., Chestnut Street is our limit—

Father, that’s where we live! We’re on it!

Mrs., we stop at the south. You live on the north side—

Father, do you sit and say my child must ride

Or walk into a totally foreign postal zone?

Mrs., the wrong side of the street is your home.

 

Hyperbole or word for word,

The same score, whatever overheard:

A chilly man with a chilly vote.

Not even Mother’s master stroke

Could budge that unsmiling priest,

Wire-rimmed, with a sharp, sallow face.

In the universal church, I’m a homeless member.

Weeks before third-grade September,

We’re kicked out the South Philly projects!

Daddy’s ex-Army pay, a wink beyond limits.

But suburban splendor Mother spied,

Plopped me down and boldly lied

To another priest with a false address

Miles from the redlined parish.

 

Years puzzling to myself—How’d she do it? Pick

A complete stranger, a Negro Catholic

Down the street from church? Mother had her ways.

The woman’s name is lost—even her face,

More mist than flesh: a pleasant ginger-brown.

The twin boys—or girls—Was she their mom?

All day Mother stayed nearby—Nobody had a hunch?

And took me to a diner up the hill for lunch.

Even in the freezing winter? No. By then we returned

To Elmwood—Where everything burned?

No. To Anyemma’s—All school year? No. We got

Back to West Philly before it was hot—Not

Darby parish? No.—You lied three times third grade?

It was a secret, Mother said—Were you afraid?

 

*In the 1950s in West Philadelphia, Transfiguration of Our Lord, at 56th and Cedar Avenue, served an established white congregation. Our Lady of Victory, at 54th and Vine, was dominated by black parishioners, many of whom had converted to Catholicism because of the perceived superiority of parochial schools. Darby’s Blessed Virgin Mary served whites, many in a new suburban housing development.

 

Yvonne

First poetry editor of two pioneer feminist magazines, Aphra and Ms., Yvonne has received several awards including NEAs for poetry (1974, 1984) and a Leeway (2003) for fiction (as Yvonne ChismPeace). Print publications featuring her poems include: Bryant Literary Review, Pinyon, Nassau Review 2019, Bosque Press #8, Foreign Literary Journal #1, Quiet Diamonds 2018 (Orchard Street), 161 One-Minute Monologues from Literature (Smith and Kraus), This Sporting Life (Milkweed), Bless Me, Father: Stories of Catholic Childhood (Plume), Catholic Girls (Plume/Penguin), Tangled Vines (HBJ), Celebrations: A New Anthology of Black American Poetry (Follett), Pushcart Prize Anthology, and We Become New (Bantam). Excerpts from her verse memoir can be found online at American Journal of Poetry, AMP, Tiny Seed Literary Journal, Poets Reading the News, Rigorous, Headway Quarterly, Collateral, the WAIF Project, Brain Mill Press’s Voices, Cahoodaloodaling, and Edify Fiction. More excerpts are forthcoming in Ragweed, Colere, Stonecrop, Beautiful Cadaver, Quiet Diamonds 2019 and Home: An Anthology (Flexible Press). She was an Atrocious Poets-One City, One Poet Contest finalist.